Well, that's my theory at least...
So I recently see this piece in Wired News: "DIY Jets Ready to Resume Testing." http://www.wired.com/autopia/2010/09/diy-jet-ready-to-resume-testing/
As mentioned in the piece, the guys at Sonex appear to be going some way towards eliminating "one of the main complaints of many pilots and would-be pilots, the cost of buying a fun to fly airplane.
(Me, I'm thinking "fun-to-fly" as in the Sonex "SubSonex" Jet, not so much the prop-driven "One-X, " also shown)
Anyway, the "DIY Jet" discussed made me recall certain points near of the end of the first remotepilot.com piece I wrote: "What Are the Live Drivers Going to Do?" http://www.remotepilot.com/2009/06/manned-military-fighterattack-jet-air-craft-go-civilian.html
Well again, I'd submit that if perhaps some military combat fighter/attack jets get displaced over the battlefield by UAVs, that single or two seat Jet aircraft pilots will hardly go the way of the dodo.
Instead, some may find new opportunity as the new civilian "race car drivers of the sky." And who knows, aerial "dog-fighting" as motorsport ("air sport") may become a civilian pastime in a few decades, with ESPN coverage and purses in the millions.
I speculate that the more the Military Employs UAVs, the more you'll see civilians Interested in owning recreational jet aircraft.
I think the Wired piece shows that the guys at Sonex and perhaps other manufacturers are aware that there is potentially this strange new market for recreational jets out there.
So, we we're checking out this piece published today over at Wired news titled "CIA Drone Targeting Tech Revealed, Al Qaeda Claims."
It says that the ranks of terrorists and insurgents in Afghanistan are being decimated by unmanned aircraft; this appears to affirm a comment made by CIA director Leon Panetta in May: ""Very Frankly (UAVs) are the only game in town in terms of confronting and trying to disrupt Al Qaeda leadership."
The Wired piece adds that said UAVs -- at least according to a certain Taliban commander (a "bad-guy-in- charge") -- are guided to their targets using, amongst other things, SIM cards surreptitiously added to militant cell phones, planted 9V-battery-powered infrared beacons, or other presumably small, plant-able homing devices.
Of course, the article ends with mention of an alleged program "backfire" of sorts.
We read of the confession (prior to his alleged execution) of a 19 year old, U.S.-paid, presumably Pakistani "planter" of homing devices who says that since he needed money, he started "throwing the (homing) chips all over."
So, we are led to believe that perhaps the planter placed "chips" on the wrong people and correspondingly, that perhaps the wrong people have been killed by UAVs on occasion.
Here's our take on all this:
When we compare military remotely-piloted aircraft to traditional aircraft, we start to wonder the following: where does the former stop and the latter start in the 21st century and beyond?
And this includes current UAV pilots themselves.
In it was an interesting comment that touched on a possible growth "avenue" for manned, military jet fighter/attack pilots in the future. This was a concept we had not considered before. Below is the comment in its entirety:
" UAVs support the teams on the ground in
A UAV gets shot down, you don't have to waste time sending a rescue team out to recover the guy/gal.
UAVs can loiter (and loiter some more). Theoretically, fresh flight crews on the ground can rotate at thecontrols until the UAV's fuel runs out (Years in case of Global Hawk, which is recon only).
Teams on the ground don't need to roll the dice calling in some "live driver" who's been amped on Dexedrine for the last 12 hours and who'll "hopefully" miss the friendlies.
US and allied Combat fighter/attack pilots certainly rock and are a highly skilled elite. But these days their `only peer competition is basically... themselves.
As such, civilians probably view fighter pilots/planes these days as kind of like an NFL team in a League of 1: "Yeah its fun to hear of their "practices" and "scrimmages," but the last air-to-air "game day" was, what, 1990-91?
My advice to fighter/attack pilots, all the military, fast-moving, "live drivers" in combat jets: Go in to business manufacturing one and two seat super-sonic jets for the civilian market-place. That's where you'll see renewed appreciation for your skills and know-how. "
Posted by: Barnacle Bob at June 10, 2009 12:34 AM"
We don't know how accurate the statements in this "Barnacle Bob's" post were, but the point about developing one and two seat super-sonic jets for civilian use is a rather interesting concept. Perhaps that is the evolution of military fighter/attack jet technology: It is reconfigured for a civilian market-place as are its former operators.
Who knows, In 20 years maybe it'll be common-place to go to Malibu Beach on a weekend and watch as dozens of privately-owned "sports-jet" air-craft contest in air-to-air combat over the Pacific Ocean for million dollar purses? Maybe you'll have a future in which 1000s of people buy and fly civilian, super-sonic jet aircraft that are vastly updated versions of this Bede BD-5 Micro:
We here at remotepilot.com certainly do believe that as UAVs, to some extent, push manned military air-craft aside in certain applications, that we will see said "push" cause a corresponding over-flow of some of the technology from (And love of) the aforementioned manned military air-craft in to the civilian market-place.
After all, we'll just have too many fighter/attack-jocks on the street that need a new home. And the public will certainly want to put these well-liked, highly trained pilots to work doing something new and interesting ;-)